Matchless Matchboxes Galore


Art on and in Matchboxes


Painterly Art  Exhibition of Artwork of

Ivan Riches


Boone’s Chapel, Lee High Road, Lewisham. London SE13 5PH

From 16 April- 5 June 2011

Reviewed By  Sasha Dee




Matchbox Art can be compared to Match Stick Men.  Both have numerous comparison points.

The world of Matchstick Men has the huge landscape canvas, style and subject that were saliently different at the time of its creation when Impressionism was new, askance and cautiously looked upon in the artistically sceptered Isle

The Matchbox Art has the small canvas as the surface of the Matchbox size and unthought-of by any artists and critiques, who have shaken the galleries around the world in our time but the world in it, could be as wide and deep as one could appreciate the art.


Ivan Riches’s art on the surfaces, both outer and inner of the common match boxes is a delicate craft of a jewel artist and marvelously meaningful of sullen art as the brooding soliloquies of Shakespeare but not gloomy.


Actually they are as sparkling as the diamonds and other precious stones attracting the audience with wonder and one could spend hours looking at them.


But their roots are in both physical pain and mental anguish the artist suffered when he was not artist. But they have sharp spurs that make the mare move. The art has that unique capacity to soothe pain like a cool balm applied on the open wounds and in some cases healing and curing as well.

The bright intensely painted in vivid colours on the match boxes are the influences of the time Ivan Riches spent in Mexico. 


But then again he reminisces “I remember my father giving me a collection of cigarette picture cards of Egyptian gods. They were rendered in rich royal blues, turquoises and shimmering gold …………….”

I have a question:” Why did Vincent Van Gogh paint bright landscapes and sunflowers in dazzling hue and colours?”

The answer could be in the famous song sung by Don Maclean:

Starry Starry Night 

stary starry night-0Astarryrhone_vangogh-01

“Starry starry night ……
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue.
Colours changing hue, morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand.

Now I understand what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity………….”


And why not for insanity as well? 

We all suffer from both sanity and insanity with mercury rising high or stopped at what is called normal; but we still suffer.

Let me finish this little matchbox size review with some verses from another famous song

Matchstick men and Matchstick Cats and Dogs


Now they said his works of art were dull
No room all round, the walls are full
But Lowry didn’t care much anyway
they said he just paints cats and dogs
And matchstick men in boots and clogs
And Lowry said that’s just the way they’ll stay*

Now canvas and brushes were wearing thin
When London started calling him
To come on down and wear the old flat cap
They said tell us all about your ways
And all about them Salford days
Is it true you’re just an ordinary chap?

*Ivan Riches says in his statement “I am displaying imagery from my thoughts and memories, which are all too easily lost or forgotten, like used matchboxes”. And further on “as if I am living in a fractured time line”.  Don’t we all feel that “Time is out of its joint”?


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